Things are not going swimmingly in the nation’s capital, no thanks to the injuries the Ottawa Senators have sustained. Going into action Saturday, they’re 4-5-0, last place in the competitive Atlantic Division, and the Senators are struggling. Of course, it feels pretty bad for the Senators fan base currently, but it could be worse. The players are doing whatever they can to stay in the hunt early. Over the past few seasons, they have been notoriously poor out of the gate.
Despite the Injuries, It Really Isn’t All Doom and Gloom for Ottawa Senators
First and foremost, everyone just needs to relax. Try deep breathing? Okay, it didn’t work here either. Sens fans and players alike need that winning feeling. Look at defenceman Thomas Chabot. He’s been good for so long, that we forgot how good we’ve had it with him. Regardless of how high you put him, he’s a top ten amongst Canadian NHL d-men. Therefore, he is a borderline Team Canada member, along with Jakob Chychrun, if Gary Bettman ever gives us a best-on-best tourney. For Chabot, he’s constantly among the NHL ice-time leaders. The argument could be made the results aren’t always there, but he sure does make the players around him better. Prime examples of that are the other three members of the team’s top four, Jake Sanderson, Artem Zub, and Chychrun. Chabot finds himself on the shelf still, for another approximately three to five week timespan.
From Injury, Comes Opportunity
Senators fans forget it is actually uncanny how frequently the Senators find themselves in the headlines. And it’s not small things either it’s a 41-game suspension, the GM being replaced, or the owner expressing himself about the commish. Granted, it is difficult to relax, but right now the team’s defence is banged up. Besides Chabot, both Zub and Erik Brannstrom remained sidelined for this weekend’s game. They aren’t expected to be out much longer, but both are sidelined today. Filling in has been a trio of AHL Senators including Jacob Bernard-Docker, Nikolas Mantinpalo, and Tyler Kleven.
The Silver Lining Is the Prospects Can Showcase Their Skills
Everyone is excited to watch Kleven and see what kind of physical impact he can have on a game, but what about Bernard-Docker? This is a great opportunity for the still, highly regarded prospect. However, his opportunities, you’d think, must be wearing thin on the organization. After all, he is a first-rounder from 2018. Still, it appears as though he is doing a decent job. He’s played over 16 minutes a night through five games. Previously, he was encouraged to be more offensive-minded. Now, given the bind the team finds themselves in, he’s needed to be relied upon more defensively. It’s a small sample size, but he has the highest dSZ% of his brief NHL career at 51.9%. Also, he has chipped in with an assist and has an amazing 17 blocked shots.
Or maybe it is time to shake things up, on the ice. It might be time to split up the top line. This team needs a spark, and Tim Stutzle and Brady Tkachuk need to drive that spark, with goals. Stutzle needs someone who can keep up with him. In contrast, Tkachuk can keep up with Stu, but he seems more concerned this season with being more responsible defensively, and he also, needs to be able to be physical whenever the opportunity presents itself. Stutzle needs another free-wheeling winger that can keep up with him, and finish those three-on-twos. What’s more, the team already has that type of option. Vladimir Tarasenko is the guy for the job. Either way, the point is they need a shake-up offensively. There is no way, with the talent up front, that this team cannot be a three-line scoring threat. Regardless of injuries.
— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) November 3, 2023
Finally, yes, there are more Ottawa Senators injuries to report. It was reported on Thursday, that both Mark Kastelic and Ridly Greig will miss multiple games. Both sustained lower-body injuries against the Los Angeles Kings. For Greig in particular, this is a huge blow. Greig was an early Calder trophy frontrunner, his seven points ranks second for all rookies.
After noticing Belleville Senators roster moves, considering injuries, Roby Jarventie and Zack MacEwen are the top candidates to fill their spots. This has been confirmed this morning.
— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) November 4, 2023
Given the past few seasons, led by coach Smith and congrats on 300 games, it seems the Sens just need to ride out this rough patch. If they can stay around .500 early, they are prone to be a streaky team. If that streak can be winning, they should be able to right the ship, despite all the injuries.
Coach D.J. Smith in his 300th game behind the club’s bench #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) November 2, 2023
Main photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports